Cateran Yomp

Cateran Yomp Returns … Bigger and Better Than Ever!

More than twice as many soldiers and civilians as last year are preparing to participate in this year’s Cateran Yomp.

In what is one of Scotland’s toughest endurance challenges, the Cateran Yomp will return to the beautiful hills and glens of the historic Cateran Trail on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 June 2022. Starting at 6am on Saturday and ending in the early hours of Sunday, The Cateran Yomp challenges teams of brave souls to walk 22, 36 or 54 miles in less than 24 hours.

Last year, during the 10th-anniversary Yomp, 515 participants raised over £400,000 to help soldiers, veterans and their families.   So far, 180 teams comprising over 1,000 people have signed up for the 2022 event, with participants travelling as far as Cyprus, Ireland, Luxembourg, Spain and USA.

The 10th Cateran Yomp, 2021. Credit: David Cheskin.

ABF The Soldiers’ Charity is the Army’s National Charity and, since 1944, has been providing a lifetime of practical and financial assistance to soldiers, veterans and their families across the UK.  Since its launch, the challenge has raised over £4M for The Soldier’s Charity, with donations funding everything from wheelchair ramps for soldiers’ homes to respite care and personal recovery plans for injured soldiers returning from the front line. Last year alone, the charity supported 60,000 people in 63 countries worldwide.

This year’s event is sponsored by The Famous Grouse, Arnold Clark, Dover Fueling Solutions and Pure Storage. The Cateran Yomp also works with a range of local sponsors who donate gifts for the event, including Castle Water, Mackie’s of Scotland and Tunnocks.

Amongst those taking part is Margaret Braceland (59) from Cyprus. Originally from Paisley in Renfrewshire, this will be Margaret’s sixth Yomp, having first taken part in 2014. She has achieved Gold three times and Silver twice.  Her last attempt was taking part in the virtual Yomp in 2020 when she walked ten miles while quarantined inside her Cyprus apartment. She then climbed the 15 stairs in her block 200 times, the equivalent height from the start line of the Yomp to the Spittal of Glenshee, 340 metres above sea level.

Margaret Braceland

Margaret Braceland training in Cyprus.

Margaret’s husband Alex worked with ABF The Soldiers’ Charity after serving his country in the Army for 36 years.

Currently completing four or five walks per week and training in the gym, Margaret said, “When you think what our soldiers in the British Army have to deal with each day, this is the least I can do.  Sadly, some don’t come home to their loved ones or return with severe mental health problems, and they need our support.  Alex is my support team and knows I love a challenge, so that’s a huge motivator, and I’m very fortunate to have his encouragement.

“Training in Cyprus has been pretty hard – as the event approaches, your training walks need to be around 30 miles in distance, and very few friends want to walk more than an hour! The winter months are the best time to walk in the hills, though, as there’s less chance of coming across a snake!”

Closer to home in Blairgowrie, Bob Ellis, who co-founded the Cateran Trail, is also going for Gold and aiming for a personal best.

Bob Ellis.

Bob was Chairman of Perth and Kinross Countryside Trust when the organisation was first approached about the idea of the Cateran Yomp over a decade ago. He has since completed seven Yomps, the first in 2011.

Bob said, “I was obviously really pleased about this not just because I was the co-founder of the Cateran Trail, but because it meant a lot more publicity for the Trail and also, as an army veteran, it meant much-needed funds for those veterans and families who were in need.

“There is a huge sense of friendship when you are taking part in the Yomp; you get to meet all kinds of people from around the world. The other thing that pleases me is the encouragement that participants give to each other, and that is really good and trust me, it does help! I have entered again for the 2022 Yomp and intend doing Gold and finish in a personal best, but I will have to follow my own advice and, more importantly, obey my wife, Lyn. She has always been my back-up and will tell me if I am going too fast, too early!”

Major General Tim Hyams CB OBE, CEO of ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, added, “We very much are looking forward to the 11th Cateran Yomp in June. Expected to be our biggest Yomp yet, I am delighted to have the opportunity to meet many of our supporters on the 54-mile route. It should be a brilliant weekend, with everyone coming together for one common goal – to support soldiers, veterans and their families.”

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